OMO Unilever: Pray for Kay


Campaign Summary

OMO is the leading detergent brand in Vietnam, having secured 56 percent of the market over the course of 24 years. However, recent years have witnessed the aggressive rise of various low-cost competitors. Being present in a product category where promotion plays a vital role in gaining penetration, OMO faced challenges in protecting its leading position.

As OMO is priced in the premium tier, the brand wanted to give its consumers more reasons to purchase the products than mere functionality. The solution for OMO was to build a stronger brand purpose as a strategic pathway to consumers' minds and hearts.

Apart from its product superiority, OMO carried its brand purpose of Dirt is Good in its DNA, encouraging children and families all over the country to freely experience their lives, regardless of getting dirt on their clothes. To bring its brand purpose to life, OMO implemented campaigns to build swimming pools and bring swimming curriculum to schools across the country. The brand thereby hoped to curtail drownings and give children freedom to play. The campaign was the largest in the history of the brand, reaching out to over 15 million netizens in Vietnam as part of a social donation initiative. The campaign was eventually able to teach more than 40,000 children how to swim.

However, OMO wanted to take a step further, because providing swimming pools and swimming lessons could not entirely solve the issue. Safe play was not hindered exclusively because children didn't know how to swim; it was threatened because millions of hectares of forest were being chopped down, resulting in water levels rising — causing flooding across villages and taking lives. OMO wanted to urge the Vietnamese to join hands and act on this issue.


Objective and Context:

When the Amazon forest was caught on fire in August 2019, the #prayforAmazon hashtag was listed as number one across social media platforms in Vietnam. In January 2020, many posted #prayforAustralia during the Australian brushfire season. Searches for these incidents skyrocketed, and thousands of articles were published with full details. Buzz Metrics, a social listening agency, recorded millions of #prayfor hashtags, sympathetic comments, and anger, yet no action seemed to be taken.

Target Audience:

The campaign's objectives were to:

  • Reach out to the young community — those between the ages of 18 and 35 with a proven environmental mindset — to raise awareness on deforestation.
  • Create a sense of urgency to act on this matter, not only among the population at large, but also among those in positions of authority.
  • Restore the most heavily damaged mangrove forest in the Mekong Delta in Ben En, Thanh Hoa by planting 30,000 trees.
  • Inspire urban families with kids to plant more trees in their living environment, aiming for one million seeds and planting tool kits to be gifted to consumers.

Creative Strategy:

The Vietnamese are not that different from the rest of the world and prefer expressing their feelings through their fingertips on a smartphone. That mindset has been engraved so deeply that they have become indifferent and passive, thinking it's not their responsibility to care or act on their beliefs.

OMO wanted to turn this behavior around, to convince its consumers that they could do their part to help society and that even the smallest action counts.


Overall Campaign Execution:

This campaign was guided by insights such as the following:

  • Environmental issues spread tremendously fast through the internet and social media.
  • People spread information about environmental disasters with the #prayfor hashtag, but truly significant action didn't seem to happen.

The brand needed to set up a wakeup call so loud and direct that it could wake people up from their indifference. Therefore, a strategic approach was established with the following directives:

  • Create a disaster stunt to get the conversation started. This stunt needed to be realistic, credible, and urgent to gain visibility on search, social media, the news, as well as among influencers and the most trusted sources of information among the target audience.
  • Leverage every #prayfor hashtag post and constantly remind consumers what the future would look like if they didn't take action, through a retargeting mechanism across touchpoints.
  • Facilitate consumers' action on the matter, through meaningful and strategic partnerships with government, NGOs, and retailers, turning the smallest action into visible results.

The third quarter of the year was predicted to have devastating flooding cases hitting the Central Highland and Northern Coast of Vietnam. This prediction was borne out when, in July of 2020, a heavy storm occurred on the North Central Coast of Vietnam; heavy flooding was reported across media channels.

OMO then released an unbranded fictitious article, announcing that a village in the affected area, named Kay, one of the most beautiful mountainous destinations in Northern Vietnam, was completely wiped out after the flood, taking 3,000 lives.

Through partnerships with several bloggers and influencers, the news became widespread within just one morning, as did requests for the community to support the stricken with the #prayforKay hashtag. All search queries were planned, captured, and led users to, where the entire history of the Kay village and documentation of the flood were built up, and users were encouraged to donate to the people in Kay village.

Upon clicking through the Pray button, the truth was revealed that Kay village was non-existent — and yet, there were thousands of real villages suffering from deforestation and would end up just like Kay if everyone just sat there and prayed. Users were urged to donate their efforts, by selecting the areas in which they could help plant trees with OMO.

Mobile Execution:

Through Partnerships with different parties, including government bodies, NGOs, and retailers, OMO provided a wide range of activities for consumers to take part in.

For instance, the Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam Communist Youth Union, and Central Youth Steering Committee implemented the Greenify Your Home and School Yard activity in elementary schools across the country. Seeds were given to students to plant trees in their houses and near classrooms. At Gaia Nature Conservation Foundation, thousands of volunteers were gathered to join OMO and plant trees on the ground.

In addition, Co.op Marts, the biggest retailer chain in Vietnam, created an activation: With every purchase of OMO products at any Co.op Mart, 5,000 VND was contributed to planting and maintaining trees.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign used the highest reach channels (video, social media, and display) to ensure sufficient exposure of the core target, measured by media buying platforms such as Facebook Business, The Trade Desk, and Display Video 360.

Google Adwords and Google Website Analytics were used to track whether Kay Village could hold consumers' attention and could trigger the conversation and generate actions.

Government bodies and retail partners tracked the actual trees planted by consumers — in forests, in schools and at homes — and the volume of OMO products being purchased. Whether OMO's brand purpose resonated well with consumers was tracked by Kantar Millward Brown's Brand Power study.

Ultimately, the campaign reached over 21 million Vietnamese consumers within 2.5 months, and the topic of Kay village and Plant Trees with OMO became one of the top initiatives being mentioned on social media, according to BuzzMetrics.

In addition, 30,000 trees were successfully planted in the most deforested village on the North Central Coast and in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Two billion seeds were received and planted at schools and in-home by students and consumers across key big cities, making urban areas greener.

Ben En, the deforested coast in Thanh Hoa, the inspiration behind OMO's Kay village, was completely restored.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Social, Social Impact/Not For Profit | Awards: X Finalist